MGCCC weighs in on free community college proposal

On Wednesday, President Joe Biden held his first speech before Congress, addressing many topics including a proposal for free tuition for all community colleges.

In his proposal, President Biden would spend $109 billion over ten years to make community college tuition free. He would increase the maximum Pell Grant by $1,400, on top of a $400 increase in the administration’s proposed 2022 budget.

$62 billion would go towards improving graduation rates at colleges that serve low-income students and $39 billion for two tuition free years for low-and-middle income students at historically black colleges and universities and other minority servicing higher education institutions.

Dr. Philip Bonfanti, executive vice president of student services and enrollment management, tells News 25 how this proposal will impact MGCCC. “We have about 70 percent of our students receiving Pell Grants. I just mention the president is talking about expanding the Pell Grant program. So, one of my first questions is how will these programs be impacted by free tuition and our ability to reward and incentivize students both academically and athletically and in performance and service. If we are going to have a federal program that comes in and makes community colleges free, I would certainly think we would want to make sure that we maintain that local decision-making authority and that local autonomy.”

Dr. Bonfanti says another thing that needs to be considered is how this will impact high school students taking college courses.

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